ST. PAUL, Minn. - The latest casualty of the NHL lockout is approximately 200 Minnesota Wild workers that will have their salaries cut by 20 percent in an effort to avoid layoffs. A move that team members say is tough to see.
"You know the sport has done such a lot for the area," says Wild forward Matt Cullen. "And hockey is such a big part of people's lives and it really hurts us to see that.
This is just the latest reason why the players and the league agreed to mediation, to try and put everyone back to work. Beginning Wednesday, the The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service will try to bridge the gap between NHL and the players association. The same way they tried to during the labor stoppage of 2004-2005 when they were unsuccessful which is why this current crop of NHL players is cautious.
"I think throughout this whole thing you try not to get too excited or too upset with what happens" says Wild forward Zach Parise.
"I think we're so close and I think you can see what deal we're going to get," says Cullen. "I think that is the most frustrating part of all for all of us players and I'm sure for the owners".
While the mediation isn't binding it is, what a lot of these players think, is their last shot at playing hockey in the United States this season.
"Maybe give it another week or two here and then maybe hop across the pond" says Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski. "It's getting to the point in the season where if something does start, you've got to be ready to go and playing games it probably the best way to do that. If not, go over there and play".
A scenario that is far from ideal for anyone, but could be coming closer to a reality.
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